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preserve order, but want of organization and of arms prevented success. They had arms; they had the principal part of the organized military forces with them; and for us to have made the effort, under the circum stances, would have had the effect to aid the disorderly element. They took possession of the armories, have the arms and ammunition, and I therefore think it prudent to decline (for the present) responding affirmatively to the requisition made by President Lincoln for four regiments of infantry.*
This temporary bending before the storm of riot by the powerless authorities might have been pardoned under the emergency; but now they proceeded to stultify their courageous conduct of the forenoon by an act, if not of treason, at least of cowardice. At midnight Mayor Brown, Marshal Kane, and the Board of Police, and, as these assert, also Governor Hicks, consulted together, and deliberately ordered the destruction of the railroad bridges between Baltimore and both Harrisburg and Philadelphia. Two strong parties of men were sent out, one of them headed by Marshal Kane, who before daylight burned the bridges at Melvale, Relay House, and Cockeysville on the Harrisburg road, and over the Bush and Gunpowder rivers and Harris Creek on the Philadelphia road. Governor Hicks soon after totally denied his consent to, or complicity in, the business, while the others insist that he was equally responsible with themselves. The fact remained that the authorities had, by an act of war, completely cut off the national capital from railroad communication with the North.
The authors of this destruction attempt to justify their conduct by the excuse that they were informed of the approach of another large body of Northern troops, and they feared that under prevailing excitement the troops would wreak vengeance on the city for that day's attack on the Massachusetts 6th. They however cite nothing in the form of such a threat reaching them before their order, except a telegram from the railroad officer at Philadelphia," that it was impossible to prevent these troops from going through Baltimore; the Union men must be aroused to resist the mob." Angry and ugly threats did soon come from the North; but not till after the burning, and largely excited by that act itself. It is impossible to resist the conviction that Mayor Brown and Marshal Kane were secessionists at heart; and while they were too sagacious to have prompted or encouraged the mob of April 19, they were quite ready to join in any sweeping popular move
Hicks to Cameron, April 20, 1861. War Records.
+ Mayor's message, Report of Marshal Kane, and Report Board of Police, May 3, 1861; War Records. Also Brown, "Baltimore and the 19th of April, 1861."
ment to precipitate Maryland into rebellion, even if they were not actually then in a secret conspiracy to that end. While on his way to burn the bridges, Marshal Kane sent a telegram to a kindred spirit, which leaves no doubt of his then treasonable intent:
Thank you for your offer. Bring your men in by the first train, and we will arrange with the railroad afterwards. Streets red with Maryland blood. Send expresses over the mountains and valleys of Maryland and Virginia for the riflemen to come without delay. Fresh hordes will be down on us to-morrow (the 20th). We will fight them, and whip them or die. §
General Scott's report and Cameron's dispatch of the 18th, quoted in the last chapter, show the already serious apprehensions of the Administration about the condition of Maryland, and particularly Baltimore. The rumors and news received on the 19th made the outlook still worse. It was definitely ascertained in the forenoon that Harper's Ferry had been so threatened by the Virginia rebels as to induce Lieutenant Jones to burn the arsenal and armory and retreat into Maryland with his little handful of soldiers. Other news convinced the authorities that there was no reasonable prospect of saving the Gosport navy yard at Norfolk, Virginia; and that night the war steamer Pawnee was started on her mission, with discretionary authority to destroy that immense establishment with its millions' worth of Government property. Shortly after noon there came, both by telegraph and messenger, the dreaded dispatch from Governor Hicks and Mayor Brown:
A collision between the citizens and the Northern troops has taken place in Baltimore, and the excitement is fearful. Send no more troops here. We will endeavor to prevent all bloodshed. A public meeting of citizens has been called, and the troops of the State They will be enough. and the city have been called out to preserve the peace.
Carefully scrutinized, this dispatch was found to be, like an ancient oracle, capable of a twofold meaning. The President and part of the Cabinet supposed Hicks meant to say he needed no troops to put down the riot. On the other hand, General Scott and Mr. Seward, usually so hopeful, thought they could read between the lines that it was desired no more troops should be passed through Baltimore. The arrival of the assaulted Massachusetts 6th about 5 o'clock added nothing to the current information except to demonstrate the seriousness of the day's occurrences. A crowd of five thousand people received the
Mayor Brown to the Maryland legislature, May 10, 1861. War Records.
Kane to Johnson, April 19, 1861. Marshal Kane, in his official report of May 3, 1861, admits the language of the dispatch, and offers no explanation of it but undue excitement.
regiment at the depot with enthusiastic cheers of welcome, and escorted its march to the rotunda of the Capitol, whence it went to quarters in the Senate Chamber. After tea that evening special messengers came from Governor Hicks to say that the Pikesville arsenal, eight miles from Baltimore, having been abandoned by the army officer in charge, the governor had caused it to be occupied and protected for the United States. The President showed them the dispatch; but they could give no explanation beyond reiterating the governor's and their own loyalty. The true interpretation soon came, though in a roundabout way. The riot had thrown all the railroad companies into a panic. Hicks and Brown had advised, and the Board of Police ordered, all troops en route to be sent back towards Pennsylvania. To its compliance with this advice and order the Baltimore and Ohio road added a refusal to undertake any further transportation;t and to this refusal the Philadelphia and Wilmington road had also given its assent. A few hours' reflection showed the Philadelphia railroad officials the suicidal nature of such refusal, not only to the Government, but especially to their own business, and they now telegraphed to Washington to know what was to be done - laying the blame rather more heavily than he deserved at the door of Governor Hicks. At Washington the question was pretty fully debated by the President, Cabinet, and General Scott, and a sharp dispatch in cipher sent back to Philadelphia:
Governor Hicks has neither right nor authority to stop troops coming to Washington. Send them on, prepared to fight their way through, if necessary. §
This decision having been reached, the President and various officials sought their rest for the night, not by any means assured of a tranquil sleep. The possible contingencies of the hour are briefly expressed in a memorandum made on the night of the Baltimore riot by an occupant of the Executive Mansion:
We are expecting more troops here by way of Baltimore, but are also fearful that the secessionists may at any hour cut the telegraph wires, tear up the railroad track, or burn the bridges, and thus prevent their reaching us and cut off all communication. We have rumors that 1500 men are under arms at Alexandria, seven miles below here, supposed to have hostile designs against this city; and an additional report that a vessel was late this evening seen landing men on the Maryland side of the river. All these things indi
cate that if we are to be attacked at all soon, it will happen to-night. On the other hand, we have some four to five thousand men under arms in the city, and a very vigilant watch out in all the probable directions
+ Hicks, Brown, and Howard to Garrett, April 19, 1861. Garrett, reply, April 19, 1861.
Felton to Hicks and Brown, April 19, 1861.
of approach. The public buildings are strongly guarded; the Secretary of War will remain all night in his Department, and General Scott is within convenient reach. I do not think any force could be brought against the city to-night which our men could not easily repel.
Soon after midnight a special train brought a committee of Baltimoreans. The authorities of that unhappy city were, first by the riot, and afterwards by the public meeting and the popular demonstrations in the streets, worked into a high state of excitement. About an hour before their determination and order to burn the bridges, Mayor Brown wrote a request to the President to stop the transit of troops, saying, "It is my solemn duty to inform you that it is not possible for more soldiers to pass through Baltimore, unless they fight their way at every step."¶ Being by this time in one of his yielding moods, Governor Hicks concurred in the request by a written note.** It was too late to see the President when the committee bearing the letter arrived; they therefore applied to Cameron at the War Department, who refused flatly to entertain their request, turning over on his sofa for another nap. From the chief clerk they learned that no troops were then actually on the way, and with this bit of relief they contented themselves till daylight.
Next morning (April 20) the President had just finished his breakfast when General Scott's carriage stopped under the White House portico. The general was suffering from gout, which made it painful for him to mount to the Executive chamber; and to save him this exertion, Lincoln came down to exchange a word with him at the door. At the foot of the staircase the President encountered the Baltimore committee, read their brief letter, and took them at once to General Scott's carriage, where they rehearsed their errand, eloquently portraying the danger-nay, the impossibility of bringing soldiers through Baltimore; whereupon the general, looking solely to the extreme urgency of getting troops to the capital, and perceiving no present advantage in fighting a battle in that city, suggested promptly," March them around"-the change from the dispatch sent the previous evening to Philadelphia being purely one of expediency under an alleged state of facts. The committee returned with the President to his office, where he wrote them a reply to Governor Hicks's and Mayor Brown's letters:
For the future troops must be brought here, but I make no point of bringing them through Baltimore. Without any military knowledge myself, of course I
Thomas to Felton, April 19, 1861. War Records. ||J. G. N., personal memoranda. Unpublished MS. Brown to Lincoln, April 19, 1861. War Records. Hicks to Lincoln. War Records.
must leave details to General Scott. He hastily said this morning, in the presence of these gentlemen, "March them around Baltimore, and not through it." I sincerely hope the general, on fuller reflection, will consider this practical and proper, and that you will not object to it. By this a collision of the people of Baltimore with the troops will be avoided, unless they go out of the way to seek it.*
This arrangement was, on being communicated to the governor, duly accepted by him. He wrote:
I hoped they would send no more troops through Maryland; but as we have no right to demand that, I am glad no more are to be sent through Baltimore.t
"Give an inch, he'll take an ell." The proverb is especially applicable in times of revolution, when men act under impulse, and not on judgment. President Lincoln did not lose sight of this human weakness while dealing with the Baltimore committee. When about to write his letter for them, he said half playfully, "If I grant you this concession, that no troops shall pass through the city, you will be back here to-morrow demanding that none shall be marched around it." They protested to the contrary; but the President's words were literally verified. When the committee returned to Baltimore, the alleged popular dread of invasion had already changed to extensive preparation for meditated but not yet avowed insurrection. So far from being thankful for their success in changing the march of Union troops, the incensed secessionists upbraided the committee for consenting to allow them to pollute the soil of Maryland. Two members of the legislature were sent back to the President § to formulate new demands. This, with the governor's withdrawal of his offer to furnish the four regiments, already cited, and the scattering sensational telegrams received, induced Lincoln, on the afternoon of Saturday, April 20, to telegraph to Governor Hicks and Mayor Brown to come by special train, as he desired to consult them "relative to preserving the peace of Maryland." The governor had gone to Annapolis, and after the interchange of various messages, the mayor himself was asked to come.
MAP OF THE APPROACHES TO WASHINGTON.
route-by rail to Perryville on the Susquehanna; thence by water on Chesapeake Bay to Annapolis; thence by railroad, or, if that were destroyed, common wagon-roads to Washington. This they suggested to General Scott on the 20th, and he ordered it adopted the same day. That same forenoon Hon. David Wilmot, making his way northward from Washington as best he could, wrote back from Baltimore to the General-in-Chief, confirming the rumor that some of the bridges of the Philadelphia road had been destroyed, the telegraph interrupted, and rapid communication with the North cut off; and added, "Troops coming on your road [from Harrisburg to Baltimore] could leave it about three miles from Baltimore, and by a march of five miles reach the Washington road some two
So soon as the Baltimore route was closed by the riot of the 19th of April, the railroad authorities || at Philadelphia had with commendable energy devised and prepared a new
* Lincoln to Hicks and Brown, April 20, 1861. † Hicks to Brown, April 20, 1861. War Records. J. G. N., personal memoranda. Unpublished MS. Scharf, "History of Maryland."
Railroad, by intimate knowledge and control of facilities, railroad cars, and steam vessels, was able at once to order such new combinations on an extensive scale as were rendered necessary by the Baltimore riot and the requirements of the large numbers of troops hurrying to the defense of Washington. For this patriotic service the Secretary of War sent his official acknowledgment to these gentlemen, including also Mr. E. S. Sanford, president of the American Telegraph Company.
Great credit is due to Mr. S. M. Felton, then president of the Philadelphia, Wilmington, and Baltimore Railroad, the same who devised the precautions at the time of Mr. Lincoln's night journey through Baltimore. Mr. Felton, heartily seconded by J. Edgar Thomson, then president of the Pennsylvania
and a half miles from the city."
In my letter to you yesterday, I intended that the railroad via Harrisburg and York towards Baltimore was more important, perhaps, for reënforcing Washington, than that from Philadelphia to Perryville, etc. That supposition was founded on the Secretary's belief that the distance from a certain point on the Harrisburg railroad to the Relay House, eight miles this side of Baltimore, was but some seven miles by a good wagon road, whereas there is no good common road between the two railroads of less than thirty miles. This fact renders the railroad from Harrisburg to Baltimore of no value to us here, without a force of perhaps ten thousand men to hold Baltimore, to protect the rails and bridges near it.
Bearing in mind this change of view, let us return to the affairs of Baltimore. Through various delays it happened that Mayor Brown did not reach Washington until Sunday morning, April 21, in obedience to Lincoln's request of the previous afternoon. The mayor brought with him two members of the first Baltimore committee, and besides these a prominent and active secessionist. Through all of Friday night and Saturday the secession feeling steadily rose in Baltimore; the city, to the full extent of its ability, made ready to resist the further passage of troops by force; and to a considerable degree the same excitement, and the same resolve and preparation, spread like wild-fire to the country villages of Maryland. Naturally, Mayor Brown and his committee-men, while they carefully kept secret their own official bridge-burning, did not undercolor their description of this insurrectionary mood of their people. The discussion was participated in by General Scott and the Cabinet, and took a wide range, lasting all Sunday forenoon (April 21). The President insisted that troops must come. General Scott explained that they could only come in one of three ways: First, through Baltimore; second, by the Harrisburg route and a march round Baltimore; and third, by the Annapolis route. The last two routes were therefore agreed upon.
mit them to go by either of these routes uninterruptedly, the necessity of their passing through Baltimore would be avoided. If the people would not permit them a transit thus remote from the city, they must select their own best route, and, if need be, fight their way through Baltimore, a result which he earnestly deprecated. The President expressed his hearty concurrence in the desire to avoid a collision, and said that no more troops should be ordered through Baltimore if they were permitted to go uninterrupted by either of the other routes suggested. In this disposition the Secretary of War expressed his participation. Mayor Brown agreed to this arrangement, and promised on his part "that the city authorities would use all lawful means to prevent their citizens from leaving Baltimore to attack the troops in passing at a distance.§
With this agreement the committee took their leave, and the President proceeded to other pressing business, when, to his astonishment, Mayor Brown and his companions once more made their appearance, between 2 and 3 o'clock in the afternoon. They brought a highly sensational telegram just received by them at the depot from Mr. Garrett, president of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, which read:
Three thousand Northern troops are reported to be have been dismissed, and the people are arming in at Cockeysville; intense excitement prevails; churches mass. To prevent terrific bloodshed, the result of your interview and arrangement is awaited. ||
Cockeysville is on the Harrisburg route, fifteen miles from Baltimore; and because they had no previous notice of such approach, the committee now intimated that advantage had been taken of their presence in Washington to bring these forces within striking distance of Baltimore. The Cabinet and Scott were again summoned, and the whole discussion was opened up anew.
The President, at once, in the most decided way urged the recall of the troops, saying he had no idea they would be there to-day, and lest there should be the slightest suspicion of bad faith on his part in summoning the mayor to Washington, and allowing troops to march on the city during his absence, he desired that the troops should, if it were practicable, be sent back at once to York or Harrisburg.
Orders were accordingly issued to this ef fect, the President, however, notifying the committee that he should not again in any wise interfere with the military arrangements.
In this, as in his Sumter policy, Lincoln interposed his authority in pursuance of his General Scott said if the people would per- constant exercise not alone of justice and firm.
*Wilmot to Scott, April 20, 1861. War Records. Scott to Patterson, April 21, 1861. War Records. Scott to Patterson, April 22, 1861. War Records.
Mayor Brown, Report, April 21, 1861. Rebellion Record."
|| Scharf, "Chronicles of Baltimore."
ness, but of the very utmost liberality and forbearance. He did not expect to appease the Maryland rebels, but to make them clearly responsible for further bloodshed, should any occur, and thereby to hold the Maryland Unionists; and the result vindicated his judgment. These were sufficient motives; and underlying them he had yet another, still more conclusive. All this examination of maps and discussion had brought the conviction to his quick penetration, in advance of any of his councilors, that the Harrisburg route was, in the present state of affairs, entirely impracticable and useless, which fact General Scott so fully set forth on the following day in his already cited letter to General Patterson.
WASHINGTON IN DANGER.
THANKS to the preparations and promptness of Governor Andrew, the Massachusetts 8th was not far behind the 6th. It assembled on Boston Common on Thursday morning, and was in Philadelphia on Friday evening, April 19, just in time to hear the authentic reports as well as the multiplied and exaggerated rumors of that day's doings of the Baltimore mob, and the tragic fate of some of their comrades of the 6th. Massachusetts having agreed to double her quota, the four regiments thus to be received formed a brigadier-general's command, and for this command Governor Andrew designated Benjamin F. Butler, who already held that office and rank under the State militia laws. He was a lawyer by profession, but possessed in an eminent degree the peculiarly American quality of ability to adapt himself to any circumstance or duty, with a quick perception to discover and a ready courage to seize opportunities. It must be noted in passing that he was a radical Democrat in politics, and could boast that he had voted fifty times in the late Charleston convention to make Jefferson Davis the Democratic candidate for President. But with the same positive zeal he denounced secession, and helped to prepare the Massachusetts regiments to join in suppressing it by the authority and with the power of the Federal Government. Arrived with the Massachusetts 8th at Philadelphia, General Butler that night telegraphed further news of the day's disaster to Governor Andrew.
I have reason to believe that Colonel Jones has gone through to Washington. Two killed only of the Massachusetts men. We shall go through at once. The road is torn up through Baltimore. Will telegraph again.*
*Butler to Andrew, April 19, 1861.
+ Lefferts to Cameron. April 20, 1861. War Records.
Later and more definite information caused him to modify his intention to press on: first, the Baltimore railroad refused to carry any more troops into that city; secondly, the burning of the bridges made it impossible for them to do so. In this dilemma, the Philadelphia railroad authorities had bethought them of a new route- that by Annapolis, previously described. This plan required not only much discussion, but great additional preparation; and Friday night and a part of Saturday passed before it was pronounced even probably feasible. By this time the 7th regiment of New York- the corps d'élite of the whole Union, which on Friday afternoon started its march down Broadway "through that tempest of cheers two miles long"- had also reached Philadelphia, where it too, like the Massachusetts 8th, was obliged seriously to study the further ways and means of getting to Washington. The various railroad and military officials of Philadelphia strongly advised the Annapolis route, and Colonel Lefferts, commanding the New York 7th, telegraphed to Cameron asking orders to go that way. There was long delay in transmitting the dispatch and awaiting a reply; and before the requested. permission came, Colonel Lefferts changed his purpose, chartered a steamship, placed his regiment on board, and started for Washington via the Delaware river and bay and the Potomac River- this decision being apparently not a little hastened by certain military rivalries and jealousies which instantly sprang up between Colonel Lefferts and Brigadier-General Butler, acting as yet under separate State authority, and being therefore independent of each other's control. Scott's reply to send troops by Havre de Grace and Annapolis,‡ as suggested, at length came through the somewhat deranged telegraph offices; and Lefferts being gone, the order was communicated to Butler. § While the New York 7th, under Lefferts, was steaming down Delaware Bay on the transport Boston, the Massachusetts 8th, under Butler, proceeded by cars to Perryville (opposite Havre de Grace), and, embarking on the ferry-boat Maryland, steamed down Chesapeake Bay, and by midnight was anchored off Annapolis. As events turned out, this division of forces proved an advantage, since neither of the boats was capable of containing both regiments; and twenty-four hours later, as we shall see, the Boston joined the Maryland at Annapolis before either regiment had disembarked.
The small and antiquated town of Annapolis, the capital of Maryland and the seat of
Thomas to Patterson, April 20, 1861. War Records. § Patterson to Thomas, April 21, 1861. War Records.